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Work while traveling and explore the world. Doesn’t it sound fascinating? Who wouldn’t wish to travel the world and work at their own leisure and time? It would be a dream come true.
Well, the dream can come true.
Don’t be, this dream can come true, and it has for many. Living a life of a Digital Nomad, where you work remotely and travel places. As fancy as it sounds, but it isn’t that easy but easier than you think.
If you love to travel and like to stay on the move, becoming a digital nomad can be one of the best ways for you. In ancient times, humankind has always been nomadic species.
You want to break the monotony of 9-5 job, find a purpose to your existence, want to look at the world around you and discover the hidden treasures of beautiful places untravelled and unexplored – become a Digital Nomad.
But is becoming a Digital Nomad only about traveling and seeing new places? No.
If you are leaving your 9-5 job, looking to make a change then how will you sustain your lifestyle? Where will you get money to hop continents and live your dream? What will happen if you run out of money in a foreign land? What if your belongings get lost on the road less traveled? How will you budget your trips?
These questions will definitely hover you and to answer them is having a passive income. The goal is to have a passive income in order to live a digital nomad life. There can be numerous reasons, but the ultimate point is to sustain a living while becoming a digital nomad.
A quintessential digital nomad is a person who travels to different places and earns money online. A laptop and a wi-fi connection help you to make money online and allows you to travel to wonderful places and work from anywhere you want to.
So let us understand, How to become a Digital Nomad?
Who is a Digital Nomad?
There is no “one size fits all” description to become a digital nomad. Usually, a digital nomad travels to places and stays for weeks or up to 6 months. He doesn’t have a permanent place to stay and is a wanderer who works remotely on his laptop and Wi-Fi connection.
It is believed that digital nomad is location independent, but it is not a fact as not everyone has enough money to work from anywhere. Therefore, a few of them chooses an economical destination.
Another point important to highlight is that not only singles but even families are digital nomads who travel together with kids and earn money online.
What kind of skills are needed to become a Digital Nomad?
Digital Nomad is not only about having a laptop, internet connection and a beautiful city but it needs focus, discipline, dedication, and responsibility.
You should be sincere towards your work, and not only walking the streets or sight-seeing the city but also ready to work at odd hours due to the time differences. Your passion to travel should be in line to support and generate income in order to fulfill it.
Not necessary that you need to hone skills to begin work online. Your half the battle is won as you know to type and operate on the computer. Seriously! It is a bonus if you can find your niche as it will open doors for revenue generation to lead the desired lifestyle.
Moreover, if you’re a college student and still want to travel in your vacations and make money, check these best online jobs for college students.
Facts, Benefits, and Challenges to become a Digital Nomad
As per a recent survey, 43% of the workforce in the U.S works remotely to some extent. Many companies allow remote work, and it is estimated by 2025, remote working will be in full trend to fixed location based jobs.
According to the Flexjobs Survey of 500 Digital Nomad in 2018, below are few insights into the remote lifestyle of a digital nomad.
- As opposed to a typical digital nomad image, 70% are women and 30% men.
- Women are married, works at a company for at least 40 hours a week.
- 72% bachelors degree, 33% masters degree.
- 51% stay at hotels and travels for 1-3months (65%).
- The majority prefer to work from hotel, cafes or restaurants.
- 61% married, 39% unmarried.
- 26% travels with kids and enrolls them in public schools supported by homeschooling and online schools.
- 74% have health insurance.
- Around 22% nomads make income between $50,000 to $99,9999. Many do get additional financial help from external sources like friends and family.
- 34% feels there is no difference in financial stress compared to desk jobs and 38% says they feel the difference.
- 55% of the nomads are saving for their retirement.
- Flexible schedule (85%);
- No commuting (65%);
- Freedom to live and work where I choose (65%);
- Work-life balance (63%);
- No office politics (52%);
- No dressing up for work (51%).
To become a digital nomad, it gives a chance of freshness to life with a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
You can have a healthy work-life balance with time to spend with family and friends.
You will get time to build on your business online and live a quality lifestyle with less money compared to your home country.
Moreover, you will be able to live your dream to travel and explore different places.
- Finding a reliable Wi-Fi (52%);
- Finding a good place to work (42%);
- Networking (35%);
- Time zones (29%);
- Work communications (20%).
Be ready to live out of luggage if you are constantly on the move. This may not be comfortable to many and can be waring you out, and it would be better to engage in long term travel (3-4 months) to know what is working for you before taking the huge plunge.
To become a Digital Nomad you will need to travel alone, sort your things and sometimes stay lonely. If you are a family person, love consistency and closeness to family and friends this might not be the right option for you.
You will need to prepare to deal with the changes in a new country in terms of people, language, and laws.
After a few years of travel and expedition, digital nomads do feel the need to settle down at one place and call it home. Some might come back home(if any, with friends and family) or settle abroad.
Important documents, Healthcare, and Insurance
While traveling to a foreign land, it is important to have your papers in place because that is your identity and passage to survive in a foreign land.
- Visa Validity
- Bank accounts – Local account, main account (home country) or Paypal account.
- Credit / Debit Cards – Global cards of global banks (certain banks cards are not acceptable or no ATM’s) would be helpful to swipe anywhere.
- Skype or Google hangouts for calling.
- Business License – While living a nomad life, you will need to pay taxes in your own country. Therefore, it is better to have a license for sole proprietors for their business.
- Driver license – Using public transport is preferable to save on money, but if it is affordable and permissible, you can rent your own car to drive around for which a global driver license will be needed.
- Emergency fund – it can help you on a rainy day in a foreign land.
- Medical files (saved on a cloud) and prescription(a hardcopy, as it is a must in certain countries)
- Insurance – Health and Travel insurance is a must for your safety. Few companies provide insurance, especially for digital nomads are Nomad Insurance, World Nomads and Safety wing.
- Low-Cost insurance should cover:
- Nomad gears
- Serves anywhere regardless of your own country
- Hassle free sign-in and help in need of the hour
- Covers basics for travel and health insurance internationally
Budgeting and Travel Costs
To become a Digital Nomad, you should know how will you budget your expenses and how much will you be able to spend on your travel which will also depend on the location you decide?
Here are a few basic costs which needs to be calculated while budgeting your trip:
- Visa application and visa extension(if any)
- Flight and internal flight cost(if any)
- Local calling card and data packages
- Food and leisure expense
- Transportation cost (rental or public transport)
- Co-working space cost
- Onward ticket cost (road, air or water)
For basic reference, to know the cost of living in a particular place, you can check the Nomadlist.com site to get a general idea as the data provided is by the users.
Decide on a Location
The world is yours, and you can work from anywhere in the world, but not everyone make sufficient money to live and earn from anywhere. Many digital nomads make money to live a comfortable life but in an industrial city.
There are many South East Asian countries which allow you to live a good life, but it will not be the same with western countries like London or New York. Hence, a digital nomad isn’t location independent, unlike the common misconception.
While choosing the location and city to become a digital nomad, you need to consider geopolitical conditions like climate, and distance to travel, cafes (with wi-fi speed), hospitals, workstations, and others.
Below is a list of places to become a digital nomad as per Nomadlist.com:
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Canngu, Bali
- Ubud, Bali
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Berlin, Germany
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Buenos Aries, Argentina
- Budapest, Hungary
Places like Bali and Chiang Mai have many workstations where you will find like-minded people and build relations but not looked at askance about your choice of living. In such places, you can have a quality life at a low salary as well.
Eventually, after settling your income streams, you can travel to different cities of your choice depending on your budget and work. This will help you to be location independent and roam freely. If you mostly do online jobs with a fixed schedule, then an a co-working space would be amazing.
Ways to Earn Online to Become a Digital Nomad
To become a digital nomad and support the lifestyle, you need to have a steady income. You will have to decide your revenue streams, and I suggest having multiple income streams. Working on your niche and monetizing it can help you to command high value and generate income.
There are many websites that offer remote working opportunities like Flex Jobs, Remote.co, Upwork, working nomad, etc
Rent your place and pack your things in storage to become a digital nomad. This will give you a steady income and become a primary source of income. You can make your earnings passively with a backup. You can also rent your unused car or driveway.
Start your own Blog
Starting your own blog is challenging but doable. It requires hard work and knowledge of SEO and writing valuable content to gain followers. But once achieved you can earn amazingly well and monetize it with affiliate marketing. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a full guide on how to start a blog.
If you are unsure, where to start from, there are many freelancing sites that offer ample work opportunities to earn online such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com. Flexjobs, People per Hour, Freelance writing gigs amongst others. There are dozens of other online jobs from home to make money without investment.
You can write for your own blog or can do freelancing as a content writer to copywriter.
Coaching and Consulting
Monetize your expertise by answering questions and providing solutions in the field of law, medicine, writing, designing or web development.
There are many websites where you can get paid for your services like clarity fm, Just Answers, Fiverr, Task Rabbit, Mechanical Turk, Amazon home services.
The scope of this job is high and can help you earn decently depending on your client and work. Basically, you act as an assistant (virtually and perform administrative duties).
From bloggers to companies, the demand for the VA is increasing. From day-to-day scheduling appointments, organizing itinerary to replying to emails, a VA does it all. Learn how to become a Virtual Assistant here.
Social Media Management
Handling the social media accounts, creating traffic and followers, publishing content across different platforms, timely response to queries and developing campaigns is a role of a social media manager.
There are various hacks and techniques to ace your work on social media. There are other stable ways to make money on social media as well. All you need is some good Internet and a way of talking.
Create Online Courses or Tutoring
Select your area of expertise (finance, marketing, operations, language, Human resources, Life skills) and start developing a course. Prepare the syllabus content, online video lectures, assignments and upload it on online learning platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Zeqr. You can X% of sales.
Alternatively, you can teach students online in any subject or language you excel in — there various online sites such as VipKid, Chegg, TutorVista, Tutorhub or Tutor.com.
You can also enquire locally at school or universities and teach there, but the only drawback is you may require a work permit.
Unleash your creativity and make a living by being a freelance graphic designer. From designing logos, banners to marketing materials, the demand for graphic designers is high.
Apply on the job portals like Monster, Flexjobs, Upwork, Indeed to get the right opportunity. Also, you can build your own portfolio for display on social media platforms or blog or website for clients to contact you.
The online buying market is growing. Drop shipping is a business model where you don’t need to stock goods. You just need to sell products and on sale, send the order request to the manufacturer/ provider, and he will deliver the order to the client. Shopify is the best example of a dropshipping business.
Below are common career fields to become digital nomads:
- Customer Service
- Art & Creative
- Computer & IT
- Data Entry
- Project Management
Essential technology tools to become a Digital Nomad. According to the recent survey by FlexJobs, the essential tools are:
- Strong Wi-Fi or Hotspot
- Battery Charger
- Power Adapter
Digital Nomad Families
After getting insights on who and how to become a Digital Nomad, you might feel it is mostly for singles to live the nomadic lifestyle. However, it is completely untrue as there are families who travel together with kids and earn a living online.
Nomadic parents believe that travel allows children to grow and see different kind of people and culture around the world. They feel the best gift while opting this lifestyle is spending more time with their children and having family moments.
The important thing to do before taking the leap is to establish your online business or stream of income as with kids you would like to keep it smooth and safe financially.
When both parents leverage their skills to carve a niche on the work front and earn decently, then they can work wherever and whenever possible. The family can work, play and travel together.
But with kids involved, there can be many concerns like what about their schooling? How will they manage in a new place? Will they be able to travel without friends and closed ones?
The answer is nothing to worry as children are adaptable and exposing them to new horizons, and varied cultures will give them valuable learning and see the world with different thinking abilities. The bond between children and parents will grow and make them super happy kids.
Tips to consider:
For Kids: You can enroll them to a local government school and can also homeschool them. Along with education, they will also learn life and social skills.
Give it a shot: It can give a quality of life, and of course, there can be hidden risks too. But, there is no harm to give it a shot as it will teach you a whole new experience.
Live it your way: Your family, your rules. What is the best thing for your family and can deepen relations and make each other happy is important and in the end, nothing else matters? A Happy family and super Happy kids!
Living the Digital Nomad lifestyle is doable with kids and affordable too.
It is for you to live your dream and achieve rewards for yourself. The stage is set, and the world is your oyster. You have the tools available to fulfill your dreams, and you just need to pick up the right skill and start working online to make the dream possible.
- 1 Who is a Digital Nomad?
- 2 What kind of skills are needed to become a Digital Nomad?
- 3 Decide on a Location
- 4 Ways to Earn Online to Become a Digital Nomad
- 5 Parting Thoughts